After three decades with Hearst and 17 years as its editor in chief in San Francisco, Phil Bronstein is resigning to take on a larger role at the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) in Berkeley, where he is currently chairman of the board.

“I think after 31 years you ought to do something different,” Bronstein told SF Weekly. “It’s been an extraordinary run, and I saw the article the [SFGate] did about it — it just barely captured how tumultuous and interesting the ride has been.”

Bronstein, 61, started with Hearst in 1980 as a reporter for the Examiner, and he moved up through the ranks to editor. His coverage of the fall of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He stepped down as editor four years ago and became editor-at-large.

Bronstein said in the Chronicle story about his departure that his new role at the Center for Investigative Reporting will be unpaid but is “critical for the ongoing importance of nonprofit journalism.”

It’s an effort that will require more time and energy than he could give with a full-time job at Hearst, Bronstein said. (Photo credit: Mike Kepka, Chronicle)

Bay Area Media News,


  1. One of Phil's last columns was about how much he liked the Siri feature on his iPhone. You could tell he was definitely coasting at that point and was drifting off to retirement.

  2. I believe there also was an investigative piece on the Boy Scouts and land-use. I was thinking the same thing — that there sure wasn't all that much happening at Hearst with such projects.

  3. Can somebody list what investigative projects he led for Hearst in his role as editor-at-large? I read a project in about 2009 on preventable medical malpractice (isn't all malpractice preventable?) but I don't recall any projects since then that involved Hearst Newspapers as a group. Maybe Phil had a hard time getting the company's various newspapers together to work on one thing? But if his job was to run an investigative unit for the Hearst Corporation, it doesn't seem like there were a lot of projects that the unit produced.

  4. He doesn't leave much of a legacy. Was Mr. Sharon Stone, was bit by a komoto dragon, put on scuba gear to find an alligator, was a finalist for a Pulitzer in the 1980s. Oh yeah, got into a shoving match with Clint Reilly but didn't knock out the SOB.

  5. He's moving to where the action is. The Center for Investigative Reporting is doing more investigative reporting than the Chronicle, which disbanded its investigative unit a couple of years ago.

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